Aspiration

Faith is love taking the form of aspiration.

Aspiration sees only one side of every question; possession, many.

Real life is, to most men, a long second-best, a perpetual compromise between the ideal and the possible; but the world of pure reason knows no compromise, no practical limitations, no barrier to the creative activity embodying in splendid edifices the passionate aspiration after the perfect from which all great works springs. Remote from human passions, remote even from the pitiful facts of nature, the generations have gradually created an ordered cosmos, where pure thought can dwell as in its natural home, and where one, at least, of our nobler impulses can escape from the dreary exile of the actual world.

There is evil in the world, but it can be overcome through repentance and aspiration, and therein lies the true meaning and adventure in life.

Vision looks inward and becomes duty. Vision looks outward and becomes aspiration. Vision looks upward and becomes faith.

We are weak today in ideal matters because intelligence is divorced from aspiration. The bare force of circumstance compels us onwards in the daily detail of our beliefs and acts, but our deeper thoughts and desires turn backwards. When philosophy shall have co-operated with the course of events and made clear and coherent the meaning of the daily detail, science and emotion will interpenetrate, practice and imagination will embrace. Poetry and religious feeling will be the unforced flowers of life. To further this articulation and revelation of the meanings of the current course of events is the task and problem of philosophy in days of transition.

Just as a cautious businessman avoids tying up all his capital in one concern, so, perhaps, worldly wisdom will advise us not to look for the whole of our satisfaction from a single aspiration.

I drink the wine of aspiration and the drug of illusion.

Religion is the answer to that cry of Reason which nothing can silence, that aspiration of the soul which no created thing can meet, that want of the heart which all creation cannot supply.

Whether a man accepts from fortune her spade and will look downward and dig, or from aspiration her axe and cord, and will scale the ice, the one and only success which it is his to command is to bring to his work a mighty heart.

The enduring value of religion is in its challenge to aspiration and hope in the mind of man.

For the most part, we should pray rather in aspiration than petition, rather by hoping than requesting; in which spirit also we may breathe a devout wish for a blessing on others upon occasions when it might be presumptuous to beg it.

Aspirations after the holy, the only aspiration in which the human soul can be assured that it will never meet with disappointment.

The mere aspiration is partial realization.

The artist is content with aspiration, whereas the mediocre must have beauty. And yet the artist attains beauty without willing it, for he is only striving after truthfulness.

An aspiration is a joy for ever, a possession as solid as a landed estate, a fortune which we can never exhaust and which gives us year by year a revenue of pleasure activity.

Truth should be the first lesson of the child and the last aspiration of manhood; for it has been well said that the inquiry of truth, which is the love-making of it, the knowledge of truth, which is the presence of it, and the belief of truth, which is the enjoying of it, is the sovereign good of human nature.

All good and beneficial prayer is… at bottom nothing else than an energy of aspiration towards the eternal not ourselves that makes for righteousness, of aspiration towards it, and of cooperation with it.

Prayer is a way of increasing our sensitivity to the spiritual aspects of life. From this point of view, it is very much like exercise. A man’s muscles become responsive by training... The soul is stretched and enlarged by prayer just as the body is stretched and enlarged by physical exercise... Prayer is a way of aspiration. It is a way of lifting ourselves, of getting a higher look, of transcending self. For when a man looks at life only from inside himself, or only from within the walls of his home, or profession, seeing the world as though it were all in terms of his special interests, then he is “too full of himself to have any room for God.” But in prayer, he... relates his own little life and his own little needs and life of humanity. He lifts himself up by prayer, and achieves a high spiritual stature.

The Bible is primarily not man’s vision of God but God’s vision of man. The Bible is not man’s theology but God’s anthropology, dealing with man and what He asks of him rather than with the nature of God. God did not reveal to the prophets eternal mysteries but His knowledge and love of man. It was not the aspiration of Israel to know the Absolute but to ascertain what He asks of man; to commune with His will rather than with His essence.